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Sleep is Golden

September 12, 2011

Sleep is Golden

Pregnancy is a most uncomfortable time in a woman’s life and something that men need to be highly aware of as the quality and amount of sleep have been shown to have negative consequences for sleep deprivation affects fatigue levels in labor.  Studies have shown that during the last trimester, these undesired problems with sleep “increased women’s rates of Cesarean birth threefold compared with women without sleep deprivation.”  Women have to battle decreased lung capacity,a  baby jumping up and down on her bladder, and baby thinking sleep time is their playtime.

Sleep does not only cause trouble for childbirth, it also can lay a couple low after the birth.  The “lack of sleep” monster doesn’t stop there.  Your mate’s sleep cycle and yours may not always be in sync and aligned, and these differences can make a huge difference in the morning and the evenings.  Does she have to drink a cup of coffee to get up, and you’re fully functional in the a.m.? Having children around only amplifies the troubles, if you have already noticed the difference.

Now folks have different parenting styles, and God forbid I step on some toes here, but for my wife and I the baby stayed with us in the bed, for it helped to reduce the load for sleeping mother and father.  We could do everything in the bed: diaper changing, breastfeeding, keeping warm– we lived in the Boston area for our first.  The family bed is something we were pleased with, and it fit out lifestyle: bohemian some might say.

To minimize sleep disturbances for your mate both during pregnancy and postpartum (after baby’s birth) you need to be aware of what you can do.  First tell her to rest when the baby rests.  It is important to make sure she has plenty of fluids.  It’s not a time to get constipated.  She should be drinking like a fish – of course no alcohol.  In the last stages of pregnancy, she will also visit the lady’s room more times per minute than a machine gun.

Awesome Body Pillow

Circulation is also involved in the processing of fluids.  She should be active, just no jarring exercises.  No exercise three hours before the bedtime is a good rule, as adrenaline is an unwelcome bedfellow.  The sleep position is to the left side of the body late in pregnancy so that the kidneys and the uterus can get blood flow.  Buy her a full body pillow that she can curl up with and throw a leg over – supporting her spine and making it easier to rest.

Heartburn in pregnancy is caused by diminished space and displacement of  internal organs, the wrong foods(greasy and spicy) don’t help and also by resting too early after you’ve eaten.  The rule is 1.5 to 2 hours, so no resting until that time is up..  She should not be having caffeine, of course, or high amounts of sugars; not good for the baby either.

The big one is stress.  This is something you can help handle.  Stress at work, stress at home, and why should she sleep.  Keep the stress out of the house.  She may need to talk things out and get some reassurance.  No, you don’t have a solution to all the problems – learn to listen.  Help her to know you are going to be there no matter what.

Create a routine that includes preparation for sleep.  Massage is good – use oil, and pamper her in the last trimester – though you can start this much earlier.  The lower back gets a lot of stress.  So half an hour before bed, she can have her body loved which will ease her mind and reduce her stress physically and mentally. Set the stage for sleep: try calming music, a bath, and a warm cup of tea (no caffeine – try herbal) and just for the fun of it, read the baby and mother a bedtime story – might as well be in the practice of that – all kids and Mothers love a good bedtime story.


Beebe, J.  Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic & Neonatal Nursing.  Sept.,2009

3 Comments leave one →
  1. September 14, 2011 7:17 pm

    Really GREAT advice for all Mommies! I had a nervous breakdown when my first was three months old and it was directly related to sleep deprivation…


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